Thursday, January 18, 2007
Rivals take aim at Apple's iPhone
Mon, 12 Feb 2007
Apple's iPhone hasn't even been launched yet and already rival companies are lining up services it hopes will knock it off its throne.
British mobile music company Omnifone is one of the first to take aim at Apple's iPhone before its November release with the introduction of MusicStation, reports The Star Online.
Music Station, which will be unveiled on Monday, is a new music service which will allow cellphone users to download new songs from a number of major music labels for a weekly fee of £1.99.
Initially the service will only be available in Europe, but Omnifone has set up deals with 23 mobile networks around the world, including South Africa's Vodacom, and plans to bring the service to 690 million subscribers in 40 countries.
"MusicStation will give users of any music capable mobile phone the ability to legally access, download and enjoy an unlimited amount of music, from a global music catalogue supported by the music industry, all for a small weekly fee, wherever they are," Omnifone CEO Rob Lewis was reported as saying in The Star Online.
Omnifone hopes to get the service to customers before the planned November release of Apple's iPhone, providing a significant challenge to the iPod giant's monopoly.
An advantage of MusicStation, according to Reuters, is that the software for downloading tracks and playing music will turn most cell phones into music-playing handsets — even if they weren't designed as 'music-playing' phones.
The service, which was designed for 2.5 and 3G networks, downloads music over a data network, giving users instant access to new music regardless of their location, according to The Star Online.
According to Lewis, MusicStation is just like iTunes "except that with MusicStation users don't need a credit card, computer or broadband connection". The weekly service charge will be added to the consumer's phone bill.
Further perks of the service are that the service tracks personal music tastes, provides news and has a community service to find music users with similar music tastes, reports Reuters. Furthermore, downloaded music will be stored centrally, which means that if your phone is lost, stolen or upgraded, the downloaded music can be transferred to a new phone.
Music catalogues will be tailored to each specific country and should on average contain approximately 1.2 million tracks. Consumers can keep downloaded tracks for as long as they keep their subscription.